The fear of missing out

It’s Friday night and I’m in a hostel in Santa Monica. I am alone because everyone in the hostel has gone out drinking…


It is Friday night and I am in a hostel in Santa Monica. I am alone but not because everyone in the hostel is out drinking. I am laid in bed listening to music because tomorrow I start a tour. So I’m just relaxing. I even spoke to people who I could have gone out with. Even with this knowledge, there is still a tale being told by some relic of a hazy past, somewhere in my mind. It boldly explains how everyone in the whole building will be out tonight. Each will have the best night of their lives. This night will get better still as they walk into a pub and all meet the partner of their dreams. They will briefly chat before retiring back to their place to make soul connecting love forever bonded in bliss from that point onwards.

For many years, my internal storyteller led me to the pub like the pide piper. Although when I got there I was surprised to find the pub was empty. I would stand in the empty bar and nearly get whiplash each time the pub door opened. It was never my ideal partner yet it never stopped me checking. It was almost as if I expected my saviour to walk into the pub, tap me on the shoulder and say “You don’t have to do this anymore. It’s going to be okay.”

So even after five years of sobriety and no longer falling for those tales, they still continue to dress up alcohol. If I listen I begin to believe that I am missing out. That I too will be granted with eternal bliss if I just venture out and have a “couple of drinks.” I am too wise now to fall for that schtick. I know that those people in the illusion aren’t wracked with self-doubt like many in reality. Many will fall out with good friends. Many will break down and cry over something not connected to the real reason they are crying. Some will find love. Some will be jolly and have great times that they will never remember. Some will be sick and many will regret it all tomorrow, though most will deem it a fair price to pay for a great night. Some will magically have a couple of drinks and stop there. Some will wish they could stop just for one day, just one fucking day without a drink to try and get a grip on reality because it all seems to be slipping away. They will cry tears of desperation and scream out of frustration. The alcohol stopped being fun years ago and the wolves howl loud, for the alcohol no longer silences their cries. That’s how the story ends for me.

The following morning I get up early and go for a run. The room smells like death and many of the people are passed out fully clothed on their beds. The stories I was being told the night before are now shown to be ridiculous. Thankfully I knew this before doing some research.

Self-righteousness isn’t a desirable trait but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Charlie. 12th September 2019.

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